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Chopin: Late Masterpieces

Audio Samples

>Chopin, Frédéric : Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60
>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurka for piano no 40 in F minor, Op. 63/2, CT. 90
>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurka for piano no 45 in A minor, Op. 67/4, CT. 95
>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurka for piano no 41 in C sharp minor, Op. 63/3, CT. 91
>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurka for piano no 49 in F minor, Op. 68/4, CT. 99
>Chopin, Frédéric : Polonaise-fantasy for piano no 7 in A flat major, Op. 61, CT. 156
>Chopin, Frédéric : Nocturne for piano no 17 in B major, Op. 62/1, CT. 124
>Chopin, Frédéric : Nocturne for piano no 18 in E major, Op. 62/2, CT. 125
>Chopin, Frédéric : Sonata for Piano no 3 in B minor, Op. 58
>Chopin, Frédéric : Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57

Album Summary

>Chopin, Frédéric : Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60
>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurka for piano no 40 in F minor, Op. 63/2, CT. 90
>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurka for piano no 45 in A minor, Op. 67/4, CT. 95
>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurka for piano no 41 in C sharp minor, Op. 63/3, CT. 91
>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurka for piano no 49 in F minor, Op. 68/4, CT. 99
>Chopin, Frédéric : Polonaise-fantasy for piano no 7 in A flat major, Op. 61, CT. 156
>Chopin, Frédéric : Nocturne for piano no 17 in B major, Op. 62/1, CT. 124
>Chopin, Frédéric : Nocturne for piano no 18 in E major, Op. 62/2, CT. 125
>Chopin, Frédéric : Sonata for Piano no 3 in B minor, Op. 58
>Chopin, Frédéric : Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Stephen Hough joins the celebrations for Chopin's 200th birthday with a disc containing much of the composer's most extraordinary music, written in the last years of his life where the expressive possibilities of his art were constantly unfolding and he imbued his favored forms with previously unknown levels of complexity and emotional depth. Stephen Hough's extraordinarily sensitive playing is informed by his limitless technique and engaging musical imagination.

"The playing is gorgeous, clean, and refined. One of the central virtues of Hough's playing is his supple touch. He produces heavy and ponderous largos, swaying andante accompaniments, and impossibly light arabesque ornamentations. Another is his deep musical intelligence, evidenced in the pathways he forges through two of the more difficult works on the program, the Barcarolle and the Polonaise-fantasy. In lesser hands, each of these works would disintegrate into a series of unrelated episodes; but here they hand together admirably." - American Record Guide

'In every case Hough's command of the music's expressive world is totally convincing. Most remarkable of all, perhaps, is his account of the Polonaise-Fantasy Op 61, one of those pieces in which Chopin's music seems to be defining its own formal rules as it unfolds, and where Hough's distinctive voicing of each strand in the musical texture is mesmerising. His playing is directly communicative, seductively decorative, and, in the sonata, aristocratically controlled' (The Guardian)

'Hough's fingers probe and caress; textures and colours dance and blend with cleansing clarity' (The Times)

'I was won over by the lovely tone and touch, the seductive warmth and clarity of the inner parts and the beautifully judged rubato ... It carries ringing conviction' (The Sunday Times)

'A concert grand piano is a thousand-pound machine ... The machine sings beautifully on 'Chopin: Late Masterpieces,' Stephen Hough's new recording for the Hyperion label ... [Third Piano Sonata] Hough's playing of the opening melody suggests that he has thought hard about how it would sound if it were sung by a soprano ... I've gone through various canonical Chopin recordings - including account s of the Third Sonata by Cortot, Lipatti and Rubenstein - and found none on which the melody coalesces into such an acutely vocal shape' (The New Yorker)

'The greater the music here, the more revelatory the playing, especially in a magnificent account of the Polonaise-fantasie ... A ticket to a pianistic paradise' (Mail on Sunday)

'Il y a dans le jeu, dans la carrière, dans la personalité de ce pianiste britannique quelque chose d'extrêmement séduisant et de hors de commun ... La Sonate est magnifique d'imagination, déroulée comme un vaste poème, sans alanguisement, sans excès de fureur, juste une sorte de retenue respectueuse de la richesse de l'écriture' (Classica, France)

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009).



Reviews

Alex Ross' Review
Stephen Hough’s new recording for the Hyperion label. “Largo,” “cantabile,” and “sostenuto” are three markings that Chopin appends to the slow movement of the Third Piano Sonata—broad, singing, sustained. They imply that the movement is an homage to bel-canto opera, and in particular to Bellini, whom Chopin knew and admired. Hough’s playing of the opening melody suggests that he has thought hard about how it would sound if it were sung by a soprano: in place of the clean articulation that you find on most recordings, he adopts a free, flowing manner, so that one prominent motif—an eighth note followed by a sixteenth-note triplet—is rendered almost as a four-note turn, with the first note held a little longer than the others. The manner is at once regal and inward, as in Bellini’s “Casta diva.” When Hough reaches a high B, he slows for a moment, as a soprano would, for the sake of both expressivity and caution. I’ve gone through various canonical Chopin recordings—including accounts of the Third Sonata by Alfred Cortot, Dinu Lipatti, and Arthur Rubinstein—and found none on which the melody coalesces into such an acutely vocal shape. Alex Ross
Submitted on 08/13/10 by McDowell 
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Works Details

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1845-1845

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Mazurka for piano no 40 in F minor, Op. 63/2, CT. 90
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1846

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Mazurka for piano no 45 in A minor, Op. 67/4, CT. 95
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1846

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Mazurka for piano no 41 in C sharp minor, Op. 63/3, CT. 91
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1846

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Mazurka for piano no 49 in F minor, Op. 68/4, CT. 99
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: circa 1846

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Polonaise-fantasy for piano no 7 in A flat major, Op. 61, CT. 156
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1846

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Nocturne for piano no 17 in B major, Op. 62/1, CT. 124
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1846

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Nocturne for piano no 18 in E major, Op. 62/2, CT. 125
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1846

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Sonata for Piano no 3 in B minor, Op. 58
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1844

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57
  • Performer: Stephen Hough (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol (05/04/2009-05/06/2009)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1844